Eight Long-Term FM22 Challenges
If you’re anything like us, the temperatures dropping and the nights drawing in can only mean one thing and that’s sinking the hours into a long-term Football Manager career. There’s something unmistakably rewarding about rising through the divisions, even if it takes a few seasons, before reaching the big time and breaking new ground with your club.
To provide you with some inspiration, here are eight of our favourite long-term FM22 challenges from around the world.
While perhaps best known for their mascot, an actual Goat, and their related nickname, what you may not know is that 1. FC Köln were historically one of Germany’s bigger clubs, winning the Bundesliga twice and the DfB Pokal on four occasions.
However, they haven’t won a domestic trophy since 1983 and in recent years have been a bit of a yo-yo side, generally too good for the 2. Bundesliga but lacking the depth to stay in the Bundesliga for prolonged periods. The 2021-22 campaign marks their third in a row at the top level, though, and it seems to us that they have the quality in their squad to push up the table.
Goals shouldn’t be a problem with the talents of Mark Uth, Anthony Modeste and Sebastian Andersson at their disposal, while Ondrej Duda and captain Jonas Hector bring the sort of international experience every club needs. Their future looks bright too, with young full-back Noah Katterbach and wide player Jan Thielmann showing bags of potential.
While you won’t be challenging for the title in your first season, you should have all the tools to take 1. FC Köln to the next level in FM22 and begin filling up the trophy cabinet at the RheinEnergieSTADION.
Clermont Foot 63
Clermont Foot 63 have made a habit of creating history in recent years. In 2014 they become the first professional men's team to be coached by a female manager and now les Clermontois are in Ligue 1 Uber Eats for the first time ever under current boss Pascal Gastien.
Clermont are among the favourites for relegation when you take the helm but they have players of real quality that you can work with to prove the oddsmakers wrong. Diminutive Uruguayan Jonathan Iglesias offers leadership and guile in the middle of the park, while Mohamed Bayo and Elbasan Rashani have all the Attributes to form a prolific striking partnership.
Once you’ve navigated your first season, you can begin looking up the table, towards the bright lights of European competition and challenging the established power in the French capital.
A little over a decade ago, financial peril saw Luton Town slip out of the EFL and into non-league for the first time. Unsurprisingly, it’s been a long road back for the Bedfordshire club but they are now in the Sky Bet Championship for the third successive season.
The Hatters showed their potential through the early months of 2021 and we feel that their great summer recruitment has put them in line to be promotion contenders this time round. Fred Onyedinma is an old-school winger, full of pace, trickery and crossing ability, while Carlos Mendes Gomes’ prolific form in front of goal last season was a key reason for Morecambe’s promotion into Sky Bet League One. In addition to those attacking talents, they brought in Scottish midfielder Allan Campbell, someone who’d been on our radars for a while after showing huge promise at Motherwell.
It’s a cliché but also true - the Sky Bet Championship is one of the most competitive leagues in the world. Getting into the play-offs, let alone achieving promotion, is a difficult task. This Luton team has the potential to do that though, and once you’ve guided them to a top-flight spot you’ll be playing for bragging rights with local rivals Watford and potentially much more besides.
VfL Bochum are one of the oldest sporting clubs in the entire world. While the football team itself wasn’t formed until 1911, they can trace their origins back to 1848. That’s really old.
Nicknamed Die Unabsteigbaren, roughly translating as ‘The Insurmountable’, VfL Bochum’s dominance of the 2. Bundesliga last season saw them finish as champions and book a return to the Bundesliga for the first time in over a decade.
On paper, the two-time DfB Pokal finalists’ biggest strength is their defence – in no small part down to the experience of full-backs Cristian Gamboa and Danilo Soares and the huge potential of long-time FM favourite Armel Bella-Kotchap. Beyond that, they’re primed to be counter-attacking specialists, Danny Blum and Takuma Asano offering pace and deliveries from wide areas for Congolese international Silvere Ganvoula or Sebastian Polter to get on the end of.
If you can get your tactics right, you should have more than enough to stay up. Can you then nail your recruitment and give local rivals Borussia Dortmund reason to look over their shoulder?
One of the major themes of FM22 has been celebrating the clubs that have earned their success and one club that typify that are Sutton United. Last season they won the Vanarama National League title and secured promotion to the EFL for the first time in their 123-year history.
While they may have been promoted and become professional, they’ve retained the identity and charm that made them so popular. They are a local football club run by local people and there’s a lot to like about that.
Looking at the squad that earned promotion and the astute business they did over the summer, many in the know, including the team over at the Not The Top 20 Podcast, were tipping Sutton to not just avoid relegation but push towards mid-table during their first year in Sky Bet League Two. Watching them over the opening three months of the season, it’s easy to see why.
Isaac Oloafe has returned on loan from Millwall after netting 16 times for The U’s last season, and he’s ably supported by the likes of Donovan Wilson, Tobi Sho-Silva and Ricky Korboa. Rob Milsom, David Ajiboye and new recruit Enzio Boldweijn provide guaranteed creativity, while Ben Goodliffe is a dominant force at the back and someone who can cause the opposition headaches from set-pieces.
They might be best known to some for their cup runs and an infamous goalkeeper but we think it’s definitely onwards and upwards. Have you got what it takes to keep the good times rolling in South London?
FC St. Pauli
Talking of popular teams, 2. Bundesliga outfit FC St. Pauli are firm favourites with fans across the world due to their unique culture.
They have some pedigree on the pitch, twice earning promotion to the Bundesliga this century. Those campaigns in the German top-flight haven’t gone so well though, with the club finishing rock-bottom on both occasions.
The relegation of Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 has added more eyes than ever before to 2. Bundesliga, a division that already includes big name clubs like Hamburger SV and Fortuna Dusseldorf. With only a maximum of three times able to gain promotion, competition is fierce but after a third of the season in real-life, it’s Hamburg’s city rivals St. Pauli who sit second on goal difference.
Powered by the goals of Austrian Guido Burgstaller, can you replicate their success and deliver a promotion celebrated the world over? Once you’re in the big time, your main goal will be to make their stay a permanent one.
While for several the teams featured here success has been a long time coming, Scotland’s Kelty Hearts have undergone a dramatic evolution in recent years.
The Fife outfit only became eligible to join cinch League Two four years ago and since then they’ve been single-minded in their desire to achieve that promotion. After topping the table in the last two pandemic-affected Lowland League seasons, they got their shot in May and took it, defeating Brechin City over two legs to take the 42nd spot in the SPFL system.
Despite being newcomers to this level, you’ll enter your first season with Kelty as title favourites and with good reason. Joe Cardle, Nathan Austin, Jamie Barjonas, Thomas O’Ware and Kallum Higginbotham are just some of the skilled players in their squad with recent pedigree of playing at much higher levels.
Cove Rangers have shown what’s possible for new sides and there’s no reason why you can’t emulate or even better their achievements with Kelty. You’ll also have the benefit of local derbies in every division to keep you on your toes.
Legia Warsaw have been the dominant force in Polish football in recent years, winning five of the last six league titles, but just three wins from their opening 11 games have opened the door for a changing of the guard. Further down the table, Radomiak Radom’s ambitions are a little more moderate this season – they’re back in the Ekstraklasa for the first time in 36 years.
Built around a solid Polish core with a strong Samba flavour (there are four players from Portugal and Brazil in the squad), Radomiak have the tools to suit managers who like structure, good defending and causing a few upsets.
Your challenge with The Greens will be to beat the feats of Raków Czechostowa – after ending a 21-year Ekstraklasa exile of their own in 2019, they’ve since finished second in the league and won the Polish Cup for the first time in their history.
We hope these suggestions have given you some food for thought for your next FM22 career. Let us know how you get on across our social media platforms.
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